Global food systems contribute to climate change, biodiversity and natural habitat loss, and fail to provide sufficient food for all. A key example is the expansion of palm oil, soy, beef and cocoa production driving the loss of tropical forests. In response, companies, finance actors and governments have made commitments to break this link between food supply chains and deforestation. Yet, these pledges have failed to deliver and commodity-driven deforestation remains stubbornly high in the tropics.
This project will – jointly with practitioners, local stakeholders, NGOs, companies and governments – explore how food production and trade can take place effectively and in a fair way without destroying tropical forests. We will synthesize different theories of change and identify enabling factors and barriers for policies and actions to reduce deforestation. We will analyze different strategies for promoting deforestation-free supply-chains. We will develop a framework for a system-wide assessment of such interventions and initiatives across the three main pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. We will use this framework to asses existing supply-chains initiatives for key commodities in three countries: palm oil is Indonesia, cocoa in Cameroon, and soy and beef in Brazil.
The project (2023-2026) is a collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Stockholm Environmental Institute (Sweden), Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum (Germany), and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU).
There is an urgent need to transform global food systems, which currently are major contributors to climate change, biodiversity loss, and fail to provide nutritious diets for all. The production, trade and consumption of palm oil, soy, beef, cocoa and other agricultural commodities are driving the loss of tropical forests and other natural ecosystems, through the expansion of cropland and pastures. In response, recent years have seen a groundswell of commitments from companies, finance actors and governments to sever the link between food supply-chains and deforestation. Yet, these pledges have failed to deliver and commodity-driven deforestation remains stubbornly high in the tropics. To reverse this trend, we aim to - together with public and private sector decision makers, practitioners, and local stakeholders - co-create a robust analytical framework for assessing the effectiveness and equity of policies to halt commodity-driven deforestation. This framework will rest on clearly defined theories of change - identified in collaboration with stakeholders - which elucidate causal mechanisms, enabling factors and barriers for policies to reduce deforestation. We will analyze a broad range of strategies for promoting deforestation-free supply-chains, from interventions aiming to reduce or shift demand. We aim to develop a framework that allows for a system-wide assessment of such interventions and initiatives across different sustainability domains: environmental, social and economic. Finally, drawing upon state-of-the-art data and methods, the analytical framework will be used to evaluate existing supply-chains initiatives for key commodities and countries (e.g., palm oil is Indonesia, cocoa in Cameroon, and soy or beef in Brazil), providing an informed portfolio of policy options for promoting deforestation-free commodity landscapes